Exploring the Poverty of Others: Kuwata Kumazō and his Contemporaries

 Kuwata Kumazō 桑田熊蔵 (1868-1932)

Kuwata Kumazō 桑田熊蔵 (1868-1932)

Kuwata Kumazō (1868-1932) was one of the outstanding specialists on social policy in the first three decades of 20th century Japan. Today he has almost been forgotten. As a scholar of German social policy and co-founder of the Association of Social Policy around 1900, he contributed to the spread of social knowledge. As a policy adviser for the Japanese government in the 1920s he put his ideas into practice. The aim of this research project is two-folded: first, it will explore Kuwata’s social thought in the context of the Japanese discourse on social issues, and second, it will put Kuwata’s contributions into the broader framework of cross-cultural explorations into poverty and the welfare. He will be portrayed as a conservative social reformer in Meiji and Taishō Japan and as a “bridge-builder” who reached out to social reformers in Germany, Britain and France.